Thursday, 10 June 2021

This Year's Garden and the Underneath of a Bee

The garden is an ever changing project. Each year recently I have decided to do something with the middle section of the garden. One year it was a chamomile lawn, one year sunflowers, and last year it was vegetables. I go for weeks without doing anything to it, then have a big blitz, and attempt to pull up the massive weeds, cut things back, then take it all to the recycling centre, (the tip!) Well this year, after an initial blitz, I then did nothing for weeks, and the constant rain, followed by a lot of sun, produced a mass of plants. I then decided to just leave it, as the bees are happy, it looks good and I don't have any spare time. I have been going up to the pond to check the progress of the yellow flags, as you can't see them from the kitchen. They were already in the pond when we moved here, and all they need is cutting back in the autumn. 
They're here!
The pink geraniums were from my sister in law Jenny, and have spread everywhere. 
          The honeysuckle was already here and is a beast. It smells good on a summer evening.                                   

I think this purple flower is a salvia. It appeared about three years ago and also spreads nicely. There is a pink one somewhere too. Bee number one. I took loads of pictures, and couldn't really see what I was taking. My camera has a slight delay between pressing the button and the shutter going, which is just enough delay for a bee to fly off as the picture is taken! I got better at timing the shots and got a few lucky ones. 
The one below is my favourite. Look at the bee's face! It is amazing. I don't think I have ever seen the underneath of a bee.
The lavender behind the bee is one I grew from seed years ago.
It lasts well and has self seeded on the steps. Behind that is a bay tree that started off quite small in a pot, and has now rooted in the ground through the pot which is slowly disintegrating around it.

The green alkanet appeared in the garden about five years ago. I have had a constant battle trying to get rid of it, which is almost impossible. This year I have decided to work with it! The bees love it, and it is a really pretty colour. I will just chop it all back later in the year and stop thinking of it as a weed!
I did pull up most of this plant, also a weed, not sure what but it looks like a dandelion except taller. Unlike the alkanet it is really easy to pull up. I missed this one, and thought the seed heads looked lovely. The pink flower is valerian (thanks Steve!) Interestingly, I didn't see any bees on it while I was out there. Jenny gave me that too. Also there is fennel growing. Fennel loves our garden. Another bee favourite and a really tall plant that looks good right until the seedheads emerge, so I only cut that down at the end of winter. I can't remember where it was from but it is another self-seeder. 
Behind this bee, you can just see the pink fuchsia. Jenny gave me this when we were in our last flat. I didn't want to leave it, so dug it up in freezing weather and moved it. It was fine. Then when next door had builders in, they dug it up with their digger. I found it lying on the ground. It survived that too. Then last year, I thought it had the disease that they get. I cut it right back and it is still fine.

I had some particularly garish begonias in this black pot last year. The soil is still in there, and this little plant has been growing happily in it for ages. I think it is called ragged robin. The dogs were found at the tip, and a grumpy (but helpful) tip man helped put them in my car. I got them out and into the garden by myself, and they are very heavy. I love them!
Finally the daisies, also from Jenny, also great self seeders (a theme is developing here) which grow out of seemingly nothing and adorn the steps. They flower all year. I think they are my favourite plant in this garden due to the above mentioned properties. 

Tuesday, 8 June 2021


Here are a few recent photos of Eddie doing his thing in the kitchen. The situation now is that he comes in about twice a day, eats some food, plays, either alone, with Bollie or with me or Andy. His favourite toy is a ping pong ball. He seems to view us as a mix of second home/luxury hotel. We sometimes find him asleep in the morning. He is gone for long periods, hopefully to his own house. Sometimes he annoys Cassie, and sometimes Bollie doesn't want to play (playfight!) He is very fond of the furry throw you can see him on here. Look at that weird sleeping position!
He was squiggling around on this day, so I took lots of pictures as he was being so funny!

Cassie tries to ignore him.

What's in the hole!
Cassie can no longer ignore the situation. 
A bit of poking and hissing ensued. 
Who me?
He has a very high miaow, a pathetic little hiss and is very sweet and funny. He is much more friendly to us now, although Bollie is still his main focus. His best friend! 


Sunday, 6 June 2021

Yesterday we went to a strange place. I was looking for somewhere near the Medway or the Thames that is not too far away, and came upon this place. It is a 'Leisure Park' on the bank of the Medway right next to the M2 and rail bridges at Rochester. It has a bowling alley, Premier Inn, McDonald's , a pub, a gym, flats (I think) and a couple of other eating places. It was a lovely spot,  peaceful and a bit weird. The leisure park, although not attractive, provided food, toilets and parking. There is a path that goes along to the bridge then is blocked off. There was a little gathering of three boy racer types showing off their cars. There was a huge and empty carpark at that end. It was really cool under the bridge. (Temperature cool!)  Along the path there were pretty wild flowers. I love the tiny dark pink flower. It looks like a sweet pea but much smaller. 
The weather has been great this week for half term. Really warm and sunny with only one day of solid rain.

Wherever I go, there is always a derelict old boat. Such a shame. This one looks like it used to be great. 
And whenever I take a long distance spy shot of someone on a boat, they seem to be looking straight at me!
I have these flowers in the garden. Can't remember their name.
Andy leads the way.
I can see at least three bikes in the mud. And the cones were not lonely either.



Saturday, 29 May 2021

Fred Bear

 Fred Bear was threadbare and eaten by moths. Now he is patched up and feeling quite smart. He was knitted by a lady called Fifi, whose husband worked with Andy's Dad, and Andy says he didn't like him when he was little, mainly because of his purple bow. Andy's Mum called him Fred, because he was made of threads. Fred has been around for years, and at some point, the moths got him and chewed eight holes in him. I think he is made of pure wool, which the moths love of course.  I managed to find a yarn that matched his colour pretty well, which is hard when buying online as the photos are not always true to the colour. I knitted patches, put them under the holes, then darned the edges to the patch to blend them as best I could. Originally he was stuffed with cut up tights or stockings, which were his kind of colour, so didn't show through the holes in the fabric. I used polyfill, so only stuffed him lightly. He has a smart black bow to match his features, which, remarkably, survived the moth attack!

I was going to post this on Thursday but blogger wouldn't let me upload any photos. After signing out then in it let me today. It is a year since my Mum died, which does not seem possible. I miss her so much, and still can't believe it is true. Am I still in the denial stage? Who knows but I feel she is still with me in some way. I think she would have approved of Fred and his repairs! I need to do Mickey next. He is my childhood toy who I still have and he is in a bad state too. His leg is falling off. Nursery nurses or Early Years Practitioners as they are now known, seem to universally ask the question of children who have had a minor scrape, if their leg/finger/arm etc will fall off, which makes them laugh and distracts them from their upset. I don't think Mickey would laugh though as his leg actually is falling off. Mum and Nana, her Mum, often repaired Mickey over the years, so he does not look at all like he did when young, and I need to carry on that tradition!

Saturday, 8 May 2021

Bear Ladies, Strange Fish, and Other Wonders

More random pictures from recent weeks. This week has been great, if a little worrying at first. Last weekend, Andy came down with what seemed like a cold. He didn't have a temperature, but he did develop a persistent cough. I suggested he try one of my lateral flow tests. He was non-commital. Then, at my break at 10.15 on Tuesday, I got a text from him saying that he had decided to go for a proper test, and that the NHS person had said that I should self-isolate too, until the result was back. After going to see the head teacher, I set off home at 10.35. Traffic is so light at that time compared to my normal time, so I was home by about 11.20. I couldn't work Wednesday, and the result was still not back on Thursday, so I couldn't work Friday either! In the end, Andy rang the number on his paperwork, and he was told that he should have registered the test by ringing up to do so. That was not explained to him. He then got the result straight away, which was negative thankfully. But in the meanwhile, I have had a lovely week off work! I will get paid for Tuesday, but not the other two days, but never mind. The time was better. I also got three cat bookings yesterday, as restrictions on foreign travel are being lifted for a limited number of countries, so my money top up is back!
Anyway, onto the random pictures!
Deptford market in the holidays. Always fun to look around, and it recently reopened. These bear ladies looked so cheery in the sun. I also went yesterday as I was fed up with sorting and packing boxes and felt like a break! I found the best things! I probably should not even go as more stuff is not necessary, but I did, and there is always something good. The first thing I picked up looked like a Coronation (George VI)  souvenir book, and I am reading the book about the young Queen Elizabeth, and wish it had pictures. So I thought it would be interesting.  When I got it home, I realised that the front part is the souvenir, and it is attached to an amazing scrapbook from the 1930s, all about the coronation, the abdication, and various royal related things. It is fascinating and has lots of pictures to fill the gaps in my book. I will post some pictures later on. 

Then I looked in a box of old stuff on the ground, saw something rusty and pulled it (them) out. It turned out to be a pair of rusty old skates.  The man I bought them from claimed they are Victorian, and pointed out the front which he described as Dreadnought shaped like the boat. I am guessing that you attached your boots to them. I found out through google that they are adjustable ones. I love them. Completely useless for anything but I love them!

On the bear lady day, I found and bought a schoolboy's diary from 1945. This will be interesting I thought. It wasn't! Not a mention of the war, and after the first month when the boy made at least a little effort to describe his life, he just wrote either "school", or "played" on the following pages and gave up altogether by March! He did write, "My birthday", on June 26th!

Next, two drawings from Reception children. I love the girls on the first, and am impressed by the way the figures are drawn. They fill the page, convey relationships through size, and are in proportion. Look at the eyes too! And I think that the person in the middle must be her Mum, who is pregnant, and this girl is always talking about this and wishing the baby was here! 
Then there is this snail. It is so delicately drawn, and I like the way it is just pencil, with lots of interesting marks. 
The great thing about sorting through years of stuff, is finding the things you know you have but that are lost. I found my packet of polystyrene tiles for making printing blocks, and so this person came out. I used acrylics to print her, as they dry so quickly and I am impatient. I did find my printing inks too but they can wait for another day. 
This is my favourite picture of Eddie. He is sitting on a pile of clean washing, and looks cute, but I only noticed afterwards how his little black and white face echoes the doll face behind. It is a big face, just a head, that I made to go on top of a wire clothes form that displayed some scarves I made. 
This dead creature was on the beach at Sheerness last week. Andy thought it was a ray. It has spikes like teeth on its tail. 
Then this strange alien mouth underneath. 
This no parking sign looks like it is on a launch pad! On the other side is the seawall and the beach. 
Sheerness Ghost Office!
The weather has been all over the place this week, with lots of rain, high winds, and quite cold. This was the view from my bus on Tuesday morning. I love it when the light is like this, and it is always fleeting, so I am pleased I saw it.